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'The Mother of Wales' on display at National Museum Cardiff

Katheryn of Berain – the mother of Wales according to some, because she had so many children and step-children, and because so many families in north Wales could claim ancestry to her.

Although she lived over four hundred years ago, Adriaen van Cronenburgh's famous painting shows us how she looked, and this painting is one of the centrepieces of a special exhibition currently showing at National Museum Cardiff.  Faces of Wales, includes many paintings and photographs of people who have contributed to the cultural, political and economic life of Wales over the past 400 years.

Katheryn was the daughter of Tudur ap Robert Vychan of Berain in Denbighshire and the granddaughter of an illegitimate son of Henry VII.  She married four times and had six children, and because of this, she became known as ‘The Mother of Wales'.   Her first husband, John, was the son and heir of Sir John Salisbury of Llewenni.  After his death in 1556, she married Sir Richard Clough, a wealthy merchant from Denbigh who lived in Antwerp and Hamburg. He died in 1570, and she returned to Berain. She then married Morris Wynn of Gwydir, who died in 1580. Finally, in 1584, aged 50, she married Edward Thelwall of Plas y Ward. She died five years later and is buried at Llanefydd church, next to her first husband.

The selection of works are from the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales collection and many of the sitters are established Welsh figures, while others have strong Welsh associations. Some are internationally famous people whose Welsh ancestry is little known.  The exhibition is on show until 24 September 2006.

The art galleries at National Museum Cardiff are currently being redeveloped and renovated. Some galleries will be shut to the public temporarily while building work is taking place. The museum remains open to the public throughout the refurbishment, with a diverse public programme of exhibitions, displays and events during 2006 and throughout our Centenary in 2007. For more details on our centenary, go to our 07 pages. For day to day enquiries regarding the galleries, please ring 029 2039 7951. The refurbishment programme is supported with additional funding by the Welsh Assembly Government

National Museum Cardiff is one of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales' seven national museums. The others are St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. Entry to all national museums is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.